Things I’ve flown – 4

November 1971: Blanik

After my second gliding holiday I was properly hooked. It took a while to locate my local gliding club in those pre-internet days, but one day I got on my moped and rocked up at a huge ex-military airfield. When the security guard saw my nice new membership card he simply pointed me at a pair of giant hangars and said I’d find the gliders round the back. I got one winch launch with an instructor and three minutes of flight time at my new club. The following weekend I got another launch which took my Blanik time up to a total of 7 minutes.

Things did improve as the spring weather arrived and the days got longer. Instructor remarks in my logbook tell me that my lookout wasn’t good enough, that my circuit planning was weak, and my flying generally needed polish.

I booked another week’s gliding holiday during the summer; this time at the Long Mynd. It did some good and on my return it only took me three months of weekend flying (10 launches) to repeat my Mynd first solo in the Blanik at Samlesbury.

My main recollection of the all-metal Blanik was its characteristic groan when flying slowly in thermals, especially if the flaps were deployed.

Once again I’ve failed to find one of my own photos – here’s one from Pickled Wings who have a nice article on the history of the type.